On Thursday, April 25th, The Horn Book co-hosted the “Fostering Lifelong Learners: Prescribing Books for Early Childhood Education” conference with Reach Out and Read and the Cambridge Public Library. Unable to attend? Don’t worry; we’ve compiled the day’s highlights based on tweets by our staff and attendees.
9:52 am: “Fostering Lifelong Learners” conference opening remarks by @HornBook‘s Roger Sutton… Off to a great start!
10:17 am: “Our role as ROR doctors, maybe our most important role, is to join with parents in recognizing how brilliant their children are”
10:23 am: Dr. Needlman’s favorite library is actually located in the hospital where he works and is accessible to patients
10:28 am: Dr. Needlman: ROR is remarkably inexpensive and cost effective; investment in early education provides high social returns
10:30 am: Now time for panel with Dr. Needlman, Dr. Lisa Dobberteen, and Dr. Marilyn Augustyn plus video of ROR program in action
@KeenePLibrary, 10:33 am: 1 in 5 children has significant difficulty learning to read.
10:35 am: Dr. Augustyn: “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” but as a society we are struggling with reading difficulties
10:39 am: Dr. Augustyn: Pediatricians are perfect choice for literacy interventions; encounter children frequently through crucial years
10:42 am: Dr. Augustyn: A child’s interaction with books tells so much about his/her development
@glecharles, 10:48 am: “We don’t get to see dads often.” Dr. Augustyn on a common theme in early literacy discussions… and publisher assumptions?
10:49 am: Dr. Augustyn: ROR is all about developing a “relationship around literacy” between families and their pediatric clinicians
@herlifewthbooks, 10:51 am: What’s keeping parents from reading with their kids? Time. How can libraries support these parents?
11:00 am: Dr. Dobberteen: As a clinician, “sharing the joys of reading with a family is unparalleled” experience
11:01 am: Dr. Dobberteen: Talking to families about reading is an intrinsically rewarding — and productive — part of a clinician’s day
11:05 am: Dr. Dobberteen, paraphrasing Natalie Babbitt’s Bub: “Reading is the very best thing to help children’s minds grow”
11:25 am: Guidance from pediatricians, great picture books, and opportunity for reading in waiting room all important aspects of ROR
@chaosinherwake, 11:48 am: Waiting with a kid? Read a book! Waiting rooms ripe for reading and ease the wait.
@chaosinherwake, 1:17 pm: Catered lunch from S&S?! I am now ready to foster lifelong learners alllll day.
1:21 pm: @HornBook fun fact: our office receives about 6000 books for review each year!
1:27 pm: Martha Parravano: What to look for in a preschool book? Interesting subject matter, relatable characters, clean trajectory, plot with limited scope
1:29 pm: Martha Parravano: More good preschool book qualities: Appropriate pacing for audience, straightforward storytelling, interdependence of text and pics
@KeenePLibrary, 1:29 pm: Kitty Flynn: Book fail: Grandparent and parent trap books speaking to the adult experience and not the child’s.
@KeenePLibrary, 1:30 pm: Kitty Flynn: Early childhood book fails: Too much text, too much message, condescension
1:32 pm: Kitty Flynn: “All elements of a picture book should work together and support each other”
1:35 pm: Lolly Robinson: Reading a picture book silently is like reading music: “you have to imagine the performance” of reading it aloud with kids
1:40 pm: @HornBook ladies sharing some of their favorite recent books for preschoolers, including alphabet books
1:51 pm: Kitty Flynn: As a picture book reviewer, it’s important to read aloud with “test subjects” at home or in class to get child’s perspective
@chaosinherwake, 1:51 pm: Lolly Robinson: There’s a difference between personal taste and what makes a book good — match the book to the reviewer!
1:55 pm: Kitty Flynn: “We can’t talk about preschoolers without talking about truck books”
@KeenePLibrary, 2:05 pm: Julie Roach sure knows how to read a kids’ book!
@glecharles, 2:06 pm: Julie Roach: Children’s librarians buy two kinds of books for collections: private/personal reading, sharing/group reading.
2:07 pm: Librarians handle collection development, book recommendations, programming, and outreach in community — whew!
2:09 pm: @cambridgepl‘s main branch (where conference is being held) has a collection of over 20,000 picture books!
@KeenePLibrary, 2:11 pm: Julie Roach: Kids look at visuals in books in a different way than adults do. They hone in on little details.
2:17 pm: Julie Roach: One goal of storytimes is to build attention spans
2:18 pm: Beth McIntyre: Books with very detailed illustrations work best when shared with an individual child rather than a group
2:20 pm: Beth McIntyre: When reading with a single child, let the child set the pace and explore tangents and details
@KeenePLibrary, 2:20 pm: Julie Roach: Wordless books are perfect to use with a group of ten kids. They can tell you the whole story.
2:29 pm: Librarians can help kids “get wiggles out” at storytime with “story stretchers” like songs/rhymes, crafts, puppets
2:33 pm: Julie and Beth make the grownups participate in storytimes so that readaloud techniques get taken home
3:09 pm: What should kids know before kindergarten? Educators Anne MacKay and Jim St. Claire discuss
@Kari_D_Allen, 3:18 pm: Jim St. Claire: Kids learn phonics through writing
3:19 pm: Jim St. Claire: Expectation that all kids should read by end of kindergarten is unrealistic; kids’ rates of development differ
3:26 pm: Jim St. Claire: Picture books, books in rhyme, nonfiction, books with patterns and repetition should all be made available to emerging readers
3:28 pm: Jim St. Claire: Expecting too much too early regarding reading can turn kids off; happens at different times for different kids
@chaosinherwake, 3:28 pm: Jim St. Claire: Today’s kindergarten curriculum is a lot like the first-grade curriculum of 10-12 years ago.
3:31 pm: Anne MacKay: Rhyme and alliteration help develop phonemic awareness
3:44 pm: Anne MacKay: Begin phonemic/syllabic awareness, alphabet recognition, basic book skills, motor skills, direction following before kindergarten
3:47 pm: Jim St. Claire: Are today’s kindergarteners struggling to develop fine motor skills and social skills?
3:54 pm: Anne MacKay: Great early literacy apps can help support learning to read in print — but may be best used as “special treat”
4:18 pm: Dr. Kathy Modigliani giving endnote on how family child care providers and literacy professionals can work together to develop literacy
@Kari_D_Allen, 4:29 pm: One’s literate life should not begin at preschool, should start much earlier.
4:31 pm: Dr. Modigliani’s workshops introduce family child care providers to library resources and good books for a range of ages
4:33 pm: Dr. Modigliani:Kids in child care should have access to books and toys of their own choosing for at least part of each day
4:36 pm: Dr. Modigliani: A “book hospital” at child care teaches kids to repair worn books. Roger: “To literally care for books”
4:38 pm: Roger: “Sounds like we’re all coming away with a laundry list of things we could be doing or doing better” regarding literacy
4:41 pm: Closing speaker is Llama Llama series author/illustrator Anna Dewdney. Roger introduced her as “a rock star to every 3-year-old you know”
4:43 pm: Anna Dewdney: “When we read books with children, we share other worlds, yes, but more importantly, we are sharing ourselves”
@chaosinherwake, 4:53 pm: Anna Dewdney: When you read to a child, you teach him to be human.
4:53 pm: Anna Dewdney: When reading with kids, “be human and strong.” They’ll “learn to be human and strong. And they will learn how to read”
4:57pm: Anna Dewdney: Mess is okay! “You can’t make anything cool unless you are willing to make a lot of mistakes”
The Fostering Lifelong Learners conference was held on April 25, 2013 at the Cambridge Public Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more from the conference — including photos and Anna Dewdney’s closing speech — click here. Follow us on Twitter for updates on all things Horn Book.